One of the basic level up moments for commander is know your meta. A meta is the group of people you play commander with and the decks they play. You need to know what is in your meta and then you should be putting cards in your commander deck that limits those decks or exploits the weaknesses of them. Often players will switch cards in and out depending on the meta you play in. You can read about these concepts here. If you want to read about deck archetypes you can do so here and part 2 here.
An Intriguing Proposal
Once Modern Horizons 2 previewed my local gaming group (which was now meeting online due to Covid-19) came up with the idea of hey why don’t we have a game night where we all play superfriends deck. “Alan can play his Atraxa deck. Matt can build Carth the Lion, and I’ll build and play Mila Crafty Companion.” said Ben
My response was “Great I have Golos I will break it out and play.” Little did they know I was rubbing my hands greedily off camera. I had a version stashed away but hadn’t really played with it because superfriends have a tendency for long turns and I have had my playgroup cranky from time to time for the long turns some of my decks take.
While we waited for MH2 to release and the proper decks to get built. I put my deck in order, switched out my placeholder cards and made sure everything was ready to go like any EDH obsessed player would do. As I was looking at the deck list and organizing I realized in a game where we were going to be planeswalker heavy it was going to be very important I had the appropriate threat removal. Planeswalkers can be difficult to remove unless you can attack and I could not count on the table to be creature heavy enough in their deck to remove other troublesome planeswalkers. I also recognized some cards just would not be as good as I would normally expect them to be in this game as well. I was reminded again to know your meta and be ready for a changing meta.
Eventually the Golos deck tech will be posted. For now, focus on the changes made to the deck for the game and why to help illustrate what may need to be tweaked in your decks from time to time. Keep in mind about five to ten percent of your deck are flex cards that can change from time to time. It is a small amount but remember when we are talking commander if you draw any of those cards it can make a significant change in your winning percentage. Keep in mind, all things being equal you should win 25% of your games of commander. Shifting that win percentage even a couple of percentage points can be very impactful.
Ironically, when we played, after three and a half hours when it was almost 1 AM, we called the game. Ben had work the next day, Matt was falling asleep and Alan was at a dangerously low life total. Everyone had a line of play that could potentially win the game. We agreed the next time we do an all superfriends meta we will do it in person where turns go faster.
Took Out Toxic Deluge added Empress Galina
Toxic Deluge is a great board wipe in black and ranked second in my top 10 black cards. It gets around indestructable creatures. You also control what gets destroyed as you control how much the -X/-X modifier is. However, it loses something in a meta where there are superfriends. Superfriends tend to be light on creatures because they need to make room for planeswalkers and their effects. With less creatures there will be less board states that are swarming with them. I anticipated there would be more threats that are single heavy hitters that can protect their planeswalkers. This limits the effectiveness of Deluge.
Instead I included a creature to bolster those numbers in my deck. Odds are I will not block with Empress Galina but it will allow me to steal opponents creatures. If I am attacked I can steal one to block with. I can even steal their attackers if they are Legendary. Best of all, at the end of my turn if I haven’t used Empress Galina I can use her to steal a planeswalker on the board. It’s a win-win scenario for me that helps me defend what I have while building up my planeswalker density.
Took Out Austere Command added Vaevictus Asmodi
Austere Command is a great modal board wipe and ranked third on my top ten white cards. It can take care of enchantments, artifacts or creatures as I need them. Like other board wipes, it doesn’t take care of planeswalkers. Instead I added another creature to my deck. This one can fly over my opponents and possibly take out a planeswalker if needed. More importantly I can take out any target planeswalker that is about to use it’s ultimate ability and I don’t have to attack that opponent. Vaevictus Asmodi, the Dire can be a great political tool that you can make deals by downgrading targets for a free attack. Yes there is a chance they will top deck something better and I will lose a permanent too. Still, I choose the targets so even if it is blind card off the top, I win the exchange on material lost.
Took Out Nevinyrral’s Disk added The Elderspell
Nevinyrral’s Disk was in the deck because there was more than 20 planeswalkers. I didn’t expect my opponents to run as many planeswalkers, but I expect them to run enough that they will benefit from it’s activation as well. The advantage of running the disk when the meta is all planeswalkers is nullified. Therefore, not worth the card slot in this meta. In its place I added The Elderspell. This is my board wipe for planeswalkers and I will maliciously use it to wipe my opponents of any and all planeswalkers and use the loyalty to change the tables and ultimate one of my planeswalkers. This is a board wipe that does it better for the new meta. Defensively this deck wants to shut down the value engines.
Took Out Temur Sabertooth added Archetype of Imagination
Creatures are important in a superfriends deck as they are your main defense for your planeswalkers. The Temur Sabertooth helps protect my board from destruction by returning creatures to my hand to replay. It also has the advantage similar to blink effects for Golos and other ETB creatures. I can play them again in order to gain a benefit. I was anticipating less board wipes.
Though the Sabertooth can protect from removal of some of the best single target cards in the format, instead I added Archetype of Imagination. This was from a miscellaneous card slot where solid synergistic effects go that make a deck unique. In this case, I just gave the deck a win condition when it comes to attacking. No one can block my creatures. It also allows me to remove any planeswalkers I want from the board at will. It also reduces my planeswalkers from the threat of attack. In a superfriends meta it is significantly better than the Sabertooth. It’s possible, depending on your playstyle, to be better in a basic Golos Superfriends deck. This is especially true if you play more aggressively than defensively.
In the End…
Take some time and think about the decks that are in our meta. Look at the cards that are in your deck and the functions they perform. Ask yourself the question of the cards in general, Is this effective in this current meta? Also ask is there a card that could perform better? Finally ask is there anything this meta is escpecially strong/weak against and and I employing any of those strategies? Metas are not static so do a health checkup on your deck from time to time. It will be worth it.